Category Archives: Politics

Colombia’s Calling, and BoB is On the Line!

I’m a radio addict. I love listening to a quality radio show while getting ready for the day or doing some chores around the house. And nowadays you don’t even need a radio to listen to the radio! Case in point: Colombia Calling with Richard McColl, which airs on OverSeasRadio.com. Whether you’re thinking of making the leap or are just interested in an on-the-ground take, the OverSeas Radio Network and Colombia Calling are for you.

I was a guest on Colombia Calling on July 15, 2013, and now the show’s available for free in both the OverSeas Radio Network “Colombia Calling” Archive (just scroll down to “Barranquilla or Bust”) and on iTunes (download the podcast to hear the whole show). Continue reading

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A Time for Serious Conversations

I’ve been in a bit of a serious mood in recent days, and it seems I’m not alone. It’s hard not to feel that this season in our world’s history is particularly pivotal. In the U.S. and globally, we are in the midst of important conversations. Whether it’s the Zimmerman case and racism in the United States, economic inequality in Brazil, democracy in Egypt, workers’ safety in Bangladesh, lack of police in Detroit, or rising sea levels globally, the issues before us are heavy and important. They not only shape and are determined by our social and political structures (talk about a chicken-and-egg scenario), but they also intimately affect our everyday lives. The “big issues” like freedom, equality, and basic personal safety are demanding solutions by hitting us where it hurts – right at home.

I thought about ignoring this trend of heaviness, but have since decided that to do so would be to shirk a fundamental responsibility that I – and I would argue, all of us – have to be part of the conversations that will determine where we go from here and where we end up after this transition. In this vein, I’m sharing with you this piece that I wrote for my new Huffington Post blog. Continue reading

Visualizing the Future in Puerto Colombia

Colombia has its skeptics.

On the one hand, most of the official news about Colombia these days – and for the past several years – is extraordinarily optimistic. Despite the worldwide recession, Colombia’s economy contracted only slightly at the end of 2008 before returning to modest gains. Last year’s 4% GDP growth exceeded the central bank’s forecast. In May of this year, Colombia ousted Mexico from its #3 position in the list of Latin American and Caribbean countries with the most foreign direct investment (Brazil is far and away number one, with Chile coming in second).  Last year, Medellín was named “Innovative City of the Year” in a global contest sponsored by the Wall Street Journal Magazine, Citi, and the Urban Land Institute. Just over a week ago, former President Álvaro Uribe – who, during his 2002 to 2010 time in office, led successful offensives against the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups – was voted “greatest Colombian in history” in a poll sponsored by the History Channel and the newspaper El Espectador.

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But for every hopeful account of Colombia’s present condition, there are those who would beg to differ. Continue reading

Big Guys with Big Guns: My Take (What’s Yours?)

To be fair, these guys are outside a small military installation (I'm told it's a colonel's home) a couple of blocks from our house. They were very friendly.

To be fair, these guys are outside a small military installation (I’m told it’s a colonel’s home) a couple of blocks from our house. They were very friendly.

Last week, my husband and I and our friend Scott took our usual Friday night trip to the movies at Barranquilla’s swanky Buenavista Mall. As is my routine, I stopped in the bathroom before the show. Coming out, I nearly ran slap into a big guy holding a really big gun – some kind of military-style assault rifle or semi-automatic type thing. (Can you tell how much I know about guns? It’s not much.) I jumped back, since this was not really what I expected in the middle of a nice multiplex movie theater in a very large, ultra-posh North American-style mall. I quickly realized that the movie theater offices were located near that particular bathroom, and that the guy with the gun was in the hallway probably because he and his partner were picking up or delivering a bunch of cash, á la Brinks in the U.S.

This was nothing I hadn’t seen before in Colombia.  Continue reading